Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Izy's Out of Standard challenge over at Real Toads this week is to consider the mechanical harvest. This coincides with my sister having recently seen the documentary Fresh, about a grassroots movement away from industrial agribusiness, back towards whole foods, small local harvests and kind conditions for the food and animals we grow to eat. This movement understands that Wall Street bankers have taken over determining how the world's food is grown, and the impact is detrimental to our lives. To put it mildly.

The last 50 years has been all about pesticides and mass production, toxic-contaminated "soil", pesticide-related cancers and salmonella,  trauma endured by the warehoused fowl and animals we "grow" in cages.  Not to mention GMO's and processed/refined "foods" that have no nutritive value whatsoever. And we are ingesting all of this when we eat. No wonder illnesses have spiked as a result. Check out Izy's eerie description of driving past a mechanical harvest, over at Toads. 

The bottom line seems to be that we have spent fifty years moving away from whole foods and small farms, only to realize our future health depends upon our return to the ways of our grandparents. The Fresh movement is encouraging us to do just that, to return to  production  of whole foods which will be locally distributed and consumed.  We can grow our own in our backyards, or support local small farmers and buy local. Thankfully, we have this choice.

Take me back to the land
of my ancestors,
out to the barn in the early dawn.
Cattle softly lowing,
milk in glass bottles
clinking on the porch,
with an eye on the sky,
to make sure we get the corn in
while it's
still dry.

Tanned men tossing bales of hay
as if they were pillows,
kids catching them
up on the truck-bed,
stacking them high,
to store in the hayloft,
putting another season's
cattle fodder by.

Let me and my sister walk through
the cornstalk rows,
as we did
when we were small,
green fronds way over our heads,
as the water trickled down
the dusty rows
on hot summer mornings,
those days when the skies
were always blue,
and the peace
of the land
was all
we knew.

I will wander through 
the green pastures,
and the cows will start
to lumber after me,
clumping downhill 
in the loam,
thinking I must be there
to sing them home.

The pig in the paddock
snorffles our table-scraps,
rooting happily in the mud.
We call him Bacon,
which horrifies me,
and puts me off  breakfast.
They try to convince me 
that rabbit is chicken
at supper,
though I sit, suspicious,
in my place.
I never did like eating
that had a face.

Take me back 
- take this whole world back -
to times when 
I was young,
when the world
and our food
was whole,
when Wall Street didn't
make our food unreal,
and we didn't ingest chemicals
at every meal.

We have come so far
from our grandparents' day,
only to discover
they had 
the prescription for living 
doing it their way.


  1. Loved this--hopefully the day will come when this nation returns to sustainable farming.

  2. Great post on the Fresh movement, Sherry. My worry is about where we will be able to grow food in the future. In my country neighbourhood, farm land is steadily being ploughed under to make subdivisions and build are we going to feed all these people we're squeezing in so tightly?! Scary, isn't it?

  3. Those golden days! I too remember most of the good and none of the bad, mostly because of the learning youth rewards of 4-H. I wonder in what stages the change happened? It is so much easier for me to go to a super-market than to several farms or even a market . . . Let's start going back by trying step one: Not to shop for anything out of season in local venues . . .

    Ah, all of that is beside the point--the power of this dreamy poem of longing. Neat.

  4. Factory farming is an abomination. You said it all in this comprehensive poem, that makes us year for times when things were so much more wholesome. I don't eat anything with a face and my husband's garden is organic. We buy local as much as possible. Still, wish more people did this.

  5. Yes, I remember those days, Sherry--(though I don;t think I'd last long at tromping through the fields and stuff now ;-)) that is the way food should be grown, responsibly, sustainably, locally.

  6. A great take! Sherry! We never had it so good! One only realizes when one gets short-changed. Otherwise the glowing picture and the sly remarks extended to hoodwink seem too good. Big money, greed and slanted influences are the culprits. One gets the picture when the damages are done.They are clever at making it so! Thanks for bringing 'Fresh' to the fore!


  7. Isn't it odd that I can say I LIVE there?
    No milk in bottles--but slinging bales of hay, walking corn rows...naming the 4-H project and watching him being sold to the highest bidder, grinning ear to ear. I really do live there.

    Ummm...pass on the rabbit trying to be passed off as chicken. I DO know the difference, tyvm.

  8. Very much in agreement with you about this!

    And I've been vegetarian for about 35 years. I do eat fish occasionally (against anemia) so they have face I guess. (But kind of a flat one.)

    I love the image of you walking with your sister. And the pig named Bacon. The whole mood you create very sweet.

    I also love by the way the picture of your dog. I feel both buoyed up and sad when I see him. He must have meant a great deal to you. k.

  9. hiya Sherry...I am so glad you found my prompt relevant to your current mindset. This poem is a beautilful lament to a world which is sustainable and obtainable. Viva la and thanks for posting!

  10. Sherry, you have written a lovely, heartfelt poem which chimes with my own view of large-scale farming. Here in rural Normandy, there are far more small farms than large, and a lot more sanity in food production.

  11. O Sherry, I so liked your poem, brought back memories, too.
    There is a real move towards growing our own food once again. I wrote a poem on the theme "Buy Local! Buy Fresh! at
    All of this calls me to look back, as well, like you did in your poem.
    Now I want to find out more about seeing Fresh!:)

  12. This brings back such memories of growing up in the country...oh I wish we could go back to the days when corporations didn't decide how and what was planted.

  13. Oh, yes, Sherry. Small farms, backyard gardens in town, fruit plucked off the tree and eaten while still warm from the sun.
    I remember.
    A great write for the prompt, my friend.

  14. PS re Lynette's comment. I cringe every time I see vast farmland ploughed under to make way for condominiums. Then I think of people our age, on 5-acre farms the government won't release from the ALR. Makes me want to cry.

  15. This really makes me nostalgic. The message is clear and has been clear for years. The return to this kind of existence will happen I think, it may not be by choice in many peoples cases, but by necessity. Great Job Girly Q.

  16. I am blessed to have lived every pulse of this beautiful nostalgic poem. Yes, take me back:) I just told my kids today that my grandma was a 'recycler' WAY before recycling was cool. She called it 'waste not, want not' and she would put today's recycling to shame:) I miss her.

    Thank-you for sharing these words.

  17. So true and so beautiful~
    WE are not getting better, we are getting sicker! It will happen, when the grid goes down-
    I agree, it is so sad and makes one wonder why the world turned so selfish~
    You need to start a movement! :D

  18. Food is scary really is hard to know what one is buying at the supermarket.

    Your poem and point are so important...I'm so grateful that you're shedding light on the situation and also promoting hope.

    You're awesome, Sherry...

    The stanza about your sister...walking...I love that one SO much!!

  19. ...50 + years of contamination!

    I like the “new vision” the video presents. Your poem is really a bow to the beautiful ways of yesteryear, and I pray we can recapture the best parts of it again. I agree, WE must be the change. Thanks for reminding me.


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